Board and Kayak
Get A Fishing License
*Disclaimer: Board and Kayak earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

Trolling Fishing: A Beginner's Guide

Trolling Fishing

Trolling Fishing

Trolling is a fishing technique where a moving boat drags bait or lures to trick fish into thinking it's prey.

Where to Troll?

Trolling is versatile:

  • Ocean
  • Lake
  • River

Finding a Good Trolling Spot

  1. Locate your fish:
    • Use sonar
    • Watch for birds diving
    • Look for floating weed lines
  2. Achieve the right depth:
    • Use different equipment for bait placement.

Common Catches

Depending on the water type:

  • Freshwater: Salmon, Trout, Bass, Walleye
  • Nearshore Saltwater: Kingfish, Wahoo, Barracuda
  • Offshore Saltwater: Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish, Marlin

Essential Gear


  • Freshwater/Inshore: Stiff rod
  • Offshore: Specialized, heavier rods (6 ½ - 7 ½ ft)


  • Conventional vs Spinning: Conventional offers more line for trolling
  • Line-Counting Reels: Helps replicate presentations
  • Two-Speed Reels: Useful for bigger fish


  • Monofilament: Good for higher speeds
  • Braided: Stronger, less buoyant


  • Outriggers: Long poles for more lines
  • Downriggers: Devices to lower bait deeper
  • Planer Boards: Cheaper alternative to downriggers

Lures and Baits

  • Types of Lures: Skirted lures, spoons, plugs, soft plastics
  • Bait Options: Squid, ballyhoo, mullet, mackerel

How to Troll?

Importance of Speed

  • Adjust based on the water conditions and prey imitation.

Switching It Up

  • Vary speed and direction for a natural presentation.